Teachers oppose Bill C-60 as federal government makes it illegal for kids to download, save and share free Internet materials

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is staunchly opposed to the federal government’s tabling of Bill C-60, copyright legislation as it excludes an educational amendment to allow students and teachers to participate in routine classroom activities such as downloading, saving and sharing publicly available Internet text or images.

“If enacted without our proposed amendment, Bill C- 60 leaves educational institutions, teachers and students in a situation of great legal uncertainty and potentially immense legal liability,” says CTF President Terry Price.

This issue has galvanized CTF’s opposition along with other organizations representing the educational community including the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Canadian School Boards Association, and the Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.

During more than three years of extensive federal government consultations and review of Canada’s copyright laws to address the digital medium, the education coalition has repeatedly urged a legislated amendment to address the educational needs of students and teachers while respecting the rights of creators. The proposed amendment would provide an equitable balance between the right of creators to be fairly remunerated for their work and the need for students and teachers to use publicly available Internet materials for education purposes.

Ms. Price explains that the Internet is an invaluable resource and plays an important role in helping students develop the literacy skills that are so important to the social and economic well-being of Canada. Teachers are concerned that school systems will be required to spend shrinking education funds to access publicly available materials for which there is no expectation of payment on the part of creators. Unnecessary expenditures result in other cut-backs affecting the quality of education.

“By tabling Bill C-60, the federal government has turned a deaf ear to the education sector. There is no reason for further delay. It took eight long years for the federal government to provide a very limited education amendment providing teachers with restricted rights to photocopy materials and video tape programs for educational purposes. How many more years must Canadian students wait to have legal permission to access use of publicly available Internet materials? Government must act now”, she concluded.